A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

Posts Tagged ‘plans

Today marks my 100th post on this blog. Writing my posts both challenges me and brings me joy, and I’ve learned a lot along the way (like remembering to hit the “Publish” button, which I once forgot to do, or I would have hit the 100-post mark last week).

Somehow I expected the words to just flow from my brain to the screen. And then reality broke in. I often struggle to shape my posts to my satisfaction, and I spend more time in editing mode than I had planned on. And sometimes I have to post later in the day because life (sick child, appointments, urgent errands, and so on) means blogging time takes a back seat.

I keep a monthly schedule of post ideas. While some months I basically follow the schedule, at other times something in the news grabs my attention and makes me want to write a blog post on that topic instead, and the schedule goes out the window.

We all know what they say about the best-laid plans. But the question is whether our plans are the best. When we’re plotting out our career path, our children’s high school course schedules, or even holiday get-together plans, do we consider that those careful plans might need some tweaking? Do we get frustrated or feel defeated when our plans must change? And do we stop to think that God might have something better in mind?

For example, I’ve been fighting a cold for nearly two weeks. I had weekend plans to attend craft fairs, take taekwon-do classes, and do much of my Christmas shopping for family on the west coast. I got through some of that. But mostly I played card games, watched movies, and ate simple meals with my family. And—in a challenge for this neat freak used to taking care of herself—I had to skip some of the housework and let my husband handle some things. But maybe I needed to rest and let someone else take care of me.

Another example: my husband and I were married late in December, and more than once our anniversary plans have fallen through because my son has come down with a cold. We’ve ended up spending a quiet evening at home instead. But maybe we needed to shift the focus from celebrating in style to simply being together.

And one more example: my husband changed jobs several years ago, meaning better work hours and interesting projects to take on at work. It also meant some changes in our spending habits. But maybe he needed that shift in his work-life balance, and we definitely needed to enjoy more family time and spend more wisely.

I’ve got some perspective on these things since I’m looking back, but at the time, I was frustrated and struggled to adapt. Change always challenges me, and I find it hard to let my plans go.

Are we open to recognizing that our plans—big or small, short- or long-term—may not be what we really need? Are we open to “God-incidences” that bring new people, ideas, dreams or goals into our lives if it means a change of plans is in order?

I pray that we would leave room for God to work in our lives and reveal his plans for us.

Beautiful Lord, wonderful Saviour

I know for sure, all of my days are

Held in Your hand,

Crafted into Your perfect plan

~ “The Potter’s Hand” by Darlene Zschech

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fingers crossed

Keeping your fingers crossed

rosary in hand

Praying to God

I think there are three basic approaches to life.

The first is to believe that your future depends on “the universe” or on your luck, good or bad. You carry a good-luck charm to help you win the big game or consult your horoscope to find out what the day will hold. But how comforting is it to think that forgetting to bring your good-luck charm or follow your horoscope to the letter could hurt you?

The second is to believe that you’re in complete control of your future. You have a long-term plan and, if you follow it carefully, everything will fall into place. But as a poet named Robert Burns pointed out, the best-laid plans often fail to work out.

The first two approaches have a lot of supporters. We know that minor hiccups (traffic jams, rain on the day of a picnic, a stain on our favourite shirt) and major disruptions (job loss, serious illness, loss of loved ones) happen to us and those we love, and often with little warning. And so we long for life to unfold exactly according to our hopes and plans.

Notice that I said our plans. But this is where the third approach comes in. To take this approach is to “let go and let God” and believe that God is in control.

I think it’s a path worth following. Consider the alternative: if we make a decision or guide our children in their decision to marry a certain person or pursue a given career without praying for guidance first, we might miss out on the spouse or the career God has planned for us…or lead our children to do the same.

Recognizing that God is in control—and we’re not—might seem scary. But we can take comfort in the fact that God has good plans for each of us, as he tells us in Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition)


Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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